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As a survivor, will I be entitled to PIP(Personal Injury Protection) benefits under Minnesota’s No-Fault Act?

Yes, survivors are entitled to death benefits, funeral and burial expenses, and survivor’s replacement services loss under Minnesota’s No-Fault Benefits.

Death Benefits

As a survivor, you are entitled up to $500 per week for economic loss benefits.  These benefits are available if you file for the benefits within one year of the date of the accident and if death was caused by or arose out of the motor vehicle accident.  Death benefits cover loss accruing after the decedent’s death, including contributions of money or tangible items of economic value that you would have received had the decedent not suffered the injury causing death.

How are my economic loss benefits calculated?

Insurance companies will look at the decedent’s economic consumption and his/her economic contributions to determine the amount of your economic loss benefits, up to a maximum of $500 per week.

Are there any criteria for being a “survivor”?

Yes, Minnesota Courts have deferred to the language in insurance policies to determine who is considered a “survivor” for the purposes of economic loss benefits available through your no fault coverage.  Again, it is important to note that your insurance company pays these benefits.   First, survivors are to be dependent on the decedent prior to his/her death.  Second, and perhaps more importantly, “survivors” have been interpreted as being either a spouse or child of the decedent.  Minnesota Courts have held that a woman who lived with a man for seven years was not entitled to these benefits.  Thus, to be a “survivor” for the purposes of receiving economic loss benefits, you must be related to the decedent.

Funeral and Burial Expenses

You are also entitled to funeral and burial expenses for your deceased loved one.  Minnesota’s No Fault benefits provide a maximum of $5,000 for reasonable expenses of funeral and burial expenses.

Survivors Replacement Services Loss

As a survivor, you are entitled to a maximum of $200 per week for ordinary and necessary services that the decedent would have performed.  The amount of these benefits may decrease by expenses of the survivors avoided by reason of the decedent’s death.  In other words, if you saved any amount of money since the decedent’s death, that amount will be subtracted from the survivor’s replacement services loss benefits.  However, it is important to note that some    expense need be incurred for you to receive these benefits.  Additionally, these benefits are not limited to household tasks, but to all ordinary and necessary services which the decedent would have performed.  For example, a Minnesota Court awarded replacement services loss benefits to a widow who owned a restaurant and liquor store with her late husband.  She was awarded these benefits for lost profits and losses related to hiring a substitute employee after his death.

Can I bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent driver?

Yes, you can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent driver, or third party, who may have caused the death of your loved one.  However, there are certain procedures you need to take to file such a lawsuit.

How can I bring a lawsuit against a third party?

There are two ways you can bring a lawsuit against a third party: (1) bring it yourself, or (2) ask the court to appoint someone to pursue the lawsuit for you.

(1) To bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a third party, such as a negligent driver, you must be a spouse, child, parent, grandparent, or sibling to the decedent.

(2) You can also file a lawsuit through a trustee, if you do not want to file a lawsuit yourself.  To do this, you ask the court to appoint a “trustee” to pursue the lawsuit on your behalf.  You, and your family members, may choose your trustee and list his/her name on the petition to the court.  However, the trustee must consent to these proceedings. The trustee is responsible for pursuing the wrongful death claim against the third party, or negligent driver, and also for ensuring any proceeds to the claim are distributed lawfully.

                Is there a statute of limitations to bring file a lawsuit?

Yes, there is a statute of limitation, or time limit, of when you can file a lawsuit against a third party, or negligent driver, in a wrongful death lawsuit.  Minnesota requires that a wrongful death lawsuit be filed within three years of the date of the decedent’s death.  If you do not file a wrongful death lawsuit within those three years, you will likely never be able to bring the lawsuit.

Filing a lawsuit for wrongful death may become complicated and you may need an attorney to assist you in the proceedings.

Can my insurance company contest my claim for survivor’s benefits?

Yes, insurance companies can contest your claim for survivor’s benefits.  This part of the process is complicated and you will likely need an attorney to help you through the process.

I have handled hundreds of cases through jury trials, court trials, administrative proceedings, and Google has ranked our firm as a five-star business.

Every insurance company and policy is different, and a personal injury attorney can assist you in dealing with your insurance company, making these claims, and recovering your medical benefits.  For more information regarding any survivor’s benefits claims you may have, feel free to contact Katherine Brown Holmen, personal injury, worker’s compensation, and wrongful death attorney at Dudley and Smith P.A..  Katherine has over 24 years of exclusive experience and has worked on thousands of medical benefit claims.  If you have been involved in an accident and want to recover medical benefits, please contact Katherine Brown Holmen at 651-291-1717 or by email at  Dudley and Smith, P.A. is a full service law firm with offices in St. Paul, Blaine, Bloomington, Burnsville, Chanhassen, White Bear Lake, and Woodbury.

Katherine Brown Holmen

Katherine grew up in Minnesota and has lived there for most of her life. However, she did attend the University of North Dakota School of Law, where she was a dedicated student who graduated and passed the Minnesota Bar Examination to become a lawyer by the age of  24.

Since her graduation she has worked exclusively as a personal injury, worker’s compensation, and wrongful death in the Minnesota area, gaining great experience from a huge number of cases, as well as a reputation among her fellow attorneys as a top ranking attorney in personal injury actions in the State of Minnesota.

                        December 2017 Client Review                                                          “I wrote you a thank you card but decided that my writing wasn’t grand to say the least (shaky).  I like to thank you for your work on our case which has been so very difficult for our family in so many ways.  Thank you for sticking with us.  With so many adversities, we were so pleased to be dealing with a lawyer of honesty.  Our best to you, and thank you for your continued assistance wrapping this up.  We wish you and your family much happiness over the holidays and hope you will get a break coming up.  Warm regards.”

She is a strong advocate for people who have suffered injuries because of another person’s negligence and is always keen to fight for justice on their behalf. She represents people who’ve suffered injuries or were the victim of wrongful death throughout Minnesota in the following areas:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents
  • ATV and Snowmobile Accidents
  • Airplane Accidents
  • Train Accidents
  • Boating Accidents
  • Pedestrian Accidents
  • Claims Against Bars for Over-Serving
  • Dog Bites
  • Wrongful Deaths
  • Injuries to Children
  • Nursing Home Accidents
  • Construction Accidents
  • Defective product Accidents
  • Work Place Accidents
  • School Accidents
  • Gun Accidents
  • Farm Accidents
  • Assaults
  • Slip, Trip and Fall Accidents
  • Appellate Law
  • Worker’s Compensation

We invite you to schedule a free initial consultation to learn more about our personal injury practice. If you cannot come to us, we will come to you in your home or in the hospital.